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Google’s geeky. Its homepage has always been spartan, and even the shade of blue used on its links are tested for performance. Its HQ is known for group bikes, indoor slides, yards mowed by goats and filled with inflatable deserts, the representatives of the web giant’s robot-themed mobile OS.
But Google’s also successful, wildly so. It’s a rare day when any internet connect human doesn’t touch at least one Google products. Not because we’re forced to, but because we want to. Google Search just works, and its popularity got us to try the rest of their apps. And you know what? Google Maps, Gmail, Docs, Chrome and more all work so good, most of us choose them because they work great. They may be spartan, but they sure do the job.
That’s not enough. The new Google, one increasingly infused with Google+ DNA since its launch 2 years ago, is focusing harder than ever on design. And features. And glasses, and driverless cars, and beating Dropbox, and more. It’s a busy — and shiny — new search giant, and that’s on showcase more than ever at this year’s Google I/O developer conference.
Adobe is best known for expensive professional apps that only run on OS X and Windows, though they’ve made a number of rather awesome free web apps over the years over the years as well. At one point, I thought they had a solid shot at being a leader in the office web apps market with their beautiful Acrobat.com web apps. But alas, they died a premature death and barely made even the slightest dent in the market.
Since then, though, Adobe’s refocused on native web coding — and seems to be distancing itself more and more from Flash. They’ve bought out Typekit but kept its free plan, and even made their own free web font library for unlimited use on any site. They also have a number of useful web apps, for everything from basic photo editing to a surprisingly robust screenwriting web app (which we can’t figure out why they made as a web app after killing their office web apps).
We just rounded up a dozen free apps and tools from Adobe over at Mac.AppStorm, and you should take a minute to check it out. There’s a number of web apps in the list, as well as native Mac and Windows apps (and even one for Linux) for everything from photo syncing to web coding.
Ever get tired of typing everything that you need to write down? How about save your fingers a bit of work and use speech recognition to write for you? Better yet, how about do it in Chrome, for free, on any platform?
It might sound too good to be true, but Chrome now has speech recognition built-in, and there’s a new app from Digital Inspiration — Dictation — that makes it easy to put it to use. You might never have to type in your notes again online!
If you’ve ever had a Posterous blog, you’ve got a project that you really need to take on this week: moving your Posterous blog to a new home. Posterous closes down for good on Tuesday, April 30th, so you’ve got 3 days to get your stuff. 3 days.
After that, everything you’ve ever put in Posterous will be gone. Boom! Whether you’ve been using Posterous until recently, or perhaps — like me — tried it out years ago and totally forgot you had a blog in Posterous, you’d better at the very least backup your Posterous data so it doesn’t get deleted, and if you want to keep it online, you need to find it a new home.
Don’t worry: you can backup and move your Posterous site in less than 15 minutes. I’m sure you can find that much time this weekend. So come on. Here’s what you need to save your Posterous site before it’s too late.
I woke up this morning, grabbed my iPhone to check the news in Reeder — which is powered by my Google Reader account — only to find at the very top that Google is shutting down Google Reader, for good, on July 1, 2013. They said it’s because too few people use it, which is rather ironic since most of us heard the news via articles synced in Google Reader.
Of course, it’s been a rumor for some time that Google Reader might be the next Google service to hit the chopping block, but it’s not just a rumor this time. Rather, is the first thing the Google Reader team has posted on their blog since 2011. That should, in itself, tell part of the story. And rather than beating around the bush about it being shut down, Google Reader will now warn you itself, rather starkly, that it’s going away. It’s really, really real this time.
That’s terrible news, since most RSS apps for desktops and phones are powered by Google Reader, and Google’s service was so popular that it practically pushed all alternatives out of the market. FeedDemon has already announced that it’s being killed as well, since it’s powered by Google Reader sync, even though years back it had its own sync engine. Google pushed most other RSS readers out of the market, and is now killing their own RSS reader app. It’s not a good day for RSS, a service that’s already been tough enough to convince people to use, and Google+ isn’t a good alternate unlike what Google apparently thinks according to a former Google Reader product manager.
So what do you do? Quit subscribing to RSS feeds? Nope. I sure won’t, and we sure hope all of our RSS subscribers here won’t, either. The good news is, there’s a ton of other great RSS services out there today, ones that have come online in the past few years or held on even though Google Reader remained dominant.Here’s all the info you’ll need to find a new service and get your feeds moved to it, pronto, before your Google Reader subscriptions are lost.
Facebook today announced that it has prepared a fresh and more focused News Feed for its users. The updated design will include the usual timelines, along with four new ones: All Friends, Photos, Music, and Following. With this upcoming redesign, the social network hopes to make your online experience much simpler — it wants to be the social nucleus that you’ve been waiting for.
With that promise, it has a chance to win back users who left over the privacy complications and overall clutter the site has gathered over time. Is this audacious overhaul enough? (more…)
In the middle of last month, Google and Samsung announced the Chromebook “for everyone”, a $249 device running Google’s Chrome OS. The Chromebook is nothing new, and it’s a project that I’ve always been fond of in concept.
The new Chromebook has already launched online and in retail stores, and is quite possibly set to see some success as the holiday season nears. Let’s take a look at the state of the Chromebook as we reach the end of the year. (more…)
Google’s one of the best companies about adding features to their apps over time. The changes aren’t always welcome, of course, especially when they change things we like about their apps. Sometimes, though, it’s fun to be reminded of the best advantage of web apps: they can get new features without you ever having to install an update. When the new features improve your life, that’s very nice.
Today, Google added a new compose pane to Gmail that lets you compose emails in a floating pane much like the Gmail chat window. They also tweaked the research pane in Google Docs, a newer feature that makes it easy to research while you’re, say, writing an essay. Let’s take a look. (more…)
Apple’s hardware and software releases have become global news events, something even non-techies know about. Practically everyone that is any bit informed about the phone industry at all knows Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 this week, enough so that its already sold out in preorders. Yet it’s a slightly unknown fact that Apple makes some very nice web apps for iCloud, ones that bring many of its well known native apps to any browser.
This past week, right along with unveiling new hardware and iOS software, Apple also upgraded its iCloud web apps. They’ve now finally dropped their beta tag, and gained the new Notes and Reminders apps that have become standard parts of iOS and OS X. Let’s take a look.